Originally posted on Blogger on 29 March 2015
As I’ve written before, I’m currently taking a class about the England of the Magna Carta. I’m studying the factors that led to the barons forcing King John to sign the Magna Carta in June 1215. On 27 March, our lecturer took us on a class trip to Rochester which was an important city in 13th century England.
We went to see two buildings that were at the heart of the city in the 13th century – the castle and the cathedral. The cathedral is still used for services today, but the castle – like so many of its counterparts – has become a tourist destination.
We took a train from St Pancras International to Rochester, where we spent the late morning touring the castle, listening to our lecturer talk about the history and why certain architectural features existed. One of these architectural features is that three of the castle’s towers are square, whereas one of them is curved. In 1215, the barons had captured Rochester from King John. King John wanted to get the city back, so he besieged the castle, ordering men to dig under one of the towers. When the tunnel had been dug and had been supported by wooden pilings, they were then in a position where they had to get the men out. The wooden pilings were replaced by pigs. When the tower was destroyed later in the battle, the pigs were killed, but all the men survived.
The view from the top of the castle. I had a bit of a Hamlet guard moment standing there
After the castle, we were given an hour for lunch. Christina, Nicole and I went to a pub.
After lunch, we walked back to the meeting place and went in the cathedral. For this part, we were divided into two groups and were given a guided tour.